At the end of May 2018 we once again we squeezed far too many of our belongings into Campbell’s trusty Corsa and embarked on a trip over the sea to Ireland. Due to the expense of ferries from Scotland we had an early rise for a drive to Liverpool followed by an 8 hour ferry to Dublin. (It seemed a good idea at the time..). For the next ten days we roadtripped our way around the breathtaking emerald lands of Ireland, and made some memories that will last forever!
As we arrived in Dublin, our first drive was down south towards the small city of Cork. One top tip at this stage is make sure you’re carrying some euros with you as not all tolls take card and many of them require the correct change. We went through 3 tolls costing around 7 euros, one of which we had to call for assistance as we didn’t have any euro coins. Thankfully the woman allowed us to swap pounds for euros however we still lost out on the exchange rate.
Unfortunately, the one day we had to spend in Cork was a Sunday. Being quite a religious country, most things are closed on a Sunday and the shops don’t open until lunch time. From what we saw of the town centre it was old and quite industrialised. It was small and quiet although this could have been due to us being there on Sunday morning.
One of the only things we could find open was the Cork City Gaol. This ancient building was the original city jail, and can be explored at the cost of €8 entry and offers an incredible insight into the harsh reality of the past.
We had priced up a few of the castles, and deemed Blarney to be too expensive for a rainy, grey day. Instead we settled for the fascinating Rock Castle Observatory. This cost €6.50 and if we hadn’t gone so late we could have stayed all day. There’s an area with interactive screens and information about marine life and space.
We were then given an interesting tour of the castle followed by sitting in a dark inflatable dome lit up by a electronic sky, and learned about space and constellations in the sky. Would highly recommend this outing if you are as keen for astronomy as we are! Ireland
Ring of Kerry
Our next trip was a drive around the ring of Kerry. It’s estimated that this will take 3 hours however it took us 8! Here are some of the most breath-taking pictures we managed to capture on this one of a kind road trip.Ireland
From the Ring of Kerry, we headed north through Tralee to our campsite for the night and met up with a friend for a campfire. This campsite was dead and full of empty static caravans. We initially thought this was nice to have a quiet site, we had the freedom to make as much noise as we wanted and had the bathroom to ourselves. This soon turned into a horror movie in our minds, which prompted a fast retreat into the tent and a sound nights sleep.
Read our full guide to our favourite sights around the famous Ring of Kerry. This was a highlight of our Ireland trip and is a must-do activity for any adventurer!
The weather picked up for our drive along the Dingle peninsula the following day, delivering stunning scenery of the town and surrounding scenery. The drive into town through the valleys are one of the most incredible (and terrifying!) drives we have ever done. The views of the west coast of Ireland amongst the mountains were simply stunning, and the road was a skinny, 2-way road with a hundred metre drop on the other side of a tiny wall.
Dingle is a small fishing town, with a few bars and some shops. There is cheap parking just outside of the town 50cent for an hour. There is the option of going out on a boat to see Fungie the dolphin, a wild dolphin who can regularly be seen on the boat trips from the harbour.
Our next overnight stop was a small town called Adare outside of Limerick which we can recommend for a short stay and an ice cream stop. We had a very chilled stay on this site, choosing to sunbathe on site and make the most of the many plug points to charge our many gadgets!
Planning an Irish Adventure of your own? Check out the campsites that we used all around Ireland and get inspired.
Galway was next on the trip as it was only a short drive we stopped off in the city on the way to the campsite. We both instantly fell in love with the cute cobbled streets and the sounds of traditional Irish music echoing along them. During our visit the weather blessed us with sunshine, so we parked up at the beach and got into the sea for a paddle (in Ireland! Who would of thought it?!). Our campsite for the night was a short hop from the sea, offering unbelievable views along the coast. Making the most of this, we chilled and enjoyed the view as the sun crept across the sky.
A small outcrop of land caught our eye and we were wanting to get moving again. What looked like a short walk along the beach ended up taking us an hour in flip flops and walking along the rocks. This definitely turned out to be worth it, a secluded cliff spot and no wind gave us the chance to fly our drone. The rest of the night was celebrated with a bbq and cider back at the tent.Ireland
The following day, we got the bus into Galway and spent the day exploring sights around the city in the sunshine. Copying the local students, we chilled on the grass in Eyre Square for the rest of the afternoon and got a drink. Fish and chips and a cider finished another sunny Irish day.Ireland
We packed up early the next morning and hit the road for Dublin. Thankfully the campsite we were staying at was just outside the city centre, a 45-minute bus journey. After pitching up, we got the bus into the city and went for a wander at the castle.
After looking lost for a while, we were approached by a man named Gerald asking us if we knew much about the castle or Dublin. He then proceeded to take us on a walking tour of the city for 3 hours! Look out for him around the grounds if you ever go to Dublin castle, you might just get the same fascinating tour as us. We saw some of the local churches and learned a lot of history about the city.Ireland
Our friend Kirstie was flying out to stay with us for the remainder of our trip and we were expecting to collect her from Dublin airport at 2300 that evening. After a busy day, lots of fresh air and sun, and us being early bedders and risers, we decided to have a nap before leaving. The flight was then delayed until at least midnight, way past our bedtime!Ireland
At 3am we awake in a mad panic, missing our alarm by only a couple of hours.. No phone battery left and a comatose Campbell beside me, who had obviously slept through the alarm on his phone! We messaged Kirstie who was safe and sound in a hotel room but we lay for most of the rest of the night feeling like the worst friends ever!
In the morning, we collected Kirstie and drove to my parent’s hotel. We were meeting them in Dublin to watch the Pro 14 rugby final in the Aviva stadium. We spent the day in the city again, this time going to the Chester Beattie museum which is full of artefacts from around the world. This was free entry and is interesting for a look around.
The hotel was right next to the stadium so it held pre-match drinks and then we headed to the game. Unfortunately, our home team had been pipped at the post to make the final however the game was brilliant none the less.IrelandIrelandIrelandIrelandIrelandIreland
North Coast of Northern Ireland
We left the campsite early the following morning to make our way up to Northern Ireland for the rest of our trip. We camped just outside Portrush, a 5-minute walk from our tent to the sea our tent sheltered by a 15-foot wall. Due to the bank holiday weekend this site was very busy, lots of families and loads of children running around. Not the most ideal situation when we had a 4am alarm set however we were sure to be bouncing out of bed the next morning for our sunrise trip to the Giants Causeway.
Thankfully, the campsite we chose was only a 15-minute drive away from the Giants Causeway. By beating the crowds and visiting before the site opens, you can save on the €12 entry fee, and have the causeway entirely to yourself!
Pulling into the car park, we raced the sun to the causeway itself by running 10 minutes down the hill. Once reaching the bottom we realised that parking is actually available almost on top of the rocks themselves, another lesson learned for us.. After plenty of stunning photos, we strolled back up to the car so thankful of how lucky we were to see such unforgettable scenery and being blessed with weather to match.
A 20-minute drive away is the beautiful Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge. If you want to walk across the bridge then you would be best to wait until after 9.30, as it is guarded by an impassible gate until such a time. We were happy with being the only ones there and enjoying the peace and quiet before the rush. For all our Game of Thrones fans out there, you may recognise this from the scene of Baylon Greyjoy’s betrayal and murder by his brother, Eon.
The next stop was along the coast at the Ballintoy Harbour, another Game of Thrones filming spot that is immediately recognisable from more scenes on the Iron Islands. Being lovers of the series it was really cool to see where a lot of it was set.
Our final location on this epic roadtrip was the city of Belfast. We pitched up at a campsite 10 minutes north of the city and enjoyed some campfires and chill time here. The following day, we had a wander around Belfast castle and admired the stunning views over the city. From here we headed into the city parked up at the Titanic museum before walking into the city centre.
The city of Belfast compares with Dublin in a similar way to Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland. Dublin offers beautiful architecture and history, that is immediately noticeable when exploring its busy streets. Belfast is much more industrialised, with modern buildings and a bustling town centre.
The shopping centre has a viewpoint from the roof with a great view of the city. Unfortunately, the city hall and St Georges market were closed for the day due to events going on. The lack of beer gardens in the city that we could see led to the decision to enjoy one last BBQ at the tent before our long journey home the following day.
The ten days we spent touring Ireland have delivered more incredible memories than we could have ever imagined. In a similar way to Scotland, when you get the right weather, Ireland has some of the most incredible scenery you will find in the world. Get planning your next trip to these lucky lands!
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